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Should I go onto Level 4

  • Member
  • 19 posts
  • # 117608

I am just about to take BA6 and can see the end of Level 3 in sight. My plan is to go on and take the SAT course and then to try to set up my own practice.

My question is would it be worth then looking at Level 4? I am in my mid 50’s and am don’t find studying that easy so am not sure I really want the stress of another level if I can find work without it. I have also noticed the exams in the new syllabus are 3 hours not 2 and don't like the idea of this.

Any comments welcome.

  • Member
  • 19 posts
  • # 117611



  • Member PM.Dip
  • Practice Licence
  • 17 posts
  • # 117614

I'm a smiliar age and converted to Bookkeeping around 3 years ago.

I also thought about going to straight to level 4. At the time I decided to wait and get settled first.

I've still not taken the extra exams.

It really depends how far up the value chain you want to go.  At level 3 you can find plenty of clients needing your skills.

If you go to level 4 you have evidence of additional skills, but in your 50's you probably have some of those skills already.

I'd advise concentrating on finding clients (and experience) with regular bookkeeping first.

  • Member
  • 19 posts
  • # 117615

Thanks for the advice Ian. 

I found after I'd posted my question that there are quite a few changes with the ICB syllabus so my question may not be quite so relevant. 

Your advice is good. I think I will stop after Level 3. I planned to do the Self Assessment Tax course and start looking for clients, I've had a couple of people ask me already but am not yet in a position to do this. I'll also most likely do the payroll course. 

I'm not looking to be a high flyer...far too old for that, so at Level 3 I will be able to take on the type of work that interests me the most. 

  • Member PM.Dip
  • Practice Licence
  • 15 posts
  • # 117620

I'm well into my fifties and am planning to sit the Self Assessment Tax exam shortly.  Trust me, by the time you've gone through the pain of that, it's unlikely you'll want to progress to Level 4!  If I hadn't signed up for and paid to study Level 4 already I would be sorely tempted to stop here!  Good luck with the tax, there is a lot of stuff to take in. 

I was on a webinar a couple of months ago with a member in practice who was seriously regretting not doing all his studying before he started in practice, because now he can't find the time to fit it in.  Mind you, he was young and ambitious (very) so a bit of a different circumstance!  But I'd recommend you wait and see how you feel after Tax is in the bag.

Whatever you decide, all the best.

  • Member PM.Dip
  • Practice Licence
  • 47 posts
  • # 117623


I spoke to ICB last week about this as I am studying for Level IV.  If you want to set up as self-employed, then the old Level III will no longer be sufficient to obtain a Practice License.  You will either need to complete Level IV under the old syllabus by 31 December 2019 or complete M7 and M8 of the new syllabus.  I would suggest maybe contacting ICB to check out your options.



  • Accredited Training Provider IS
  • 435 posts
  • # 117624

Hi All, I'm coming at this from a providers point of view and have had this confirmed by ICB as the original poster here contacted me directly.


During 2019, if you complete up to BA7 you can apply for AICB and them be auto upgraded to MICB, which is the new requirement for a practice license. 


From a provider I'd always advocate further learning to L4, and this is essential if you want to consider study that could lead to a fellow membership.


Hope this helps.

  • Accredited Training Provider IS
  • 435 posts
  • # 117629

Thanks Ami,

Further clarification please. I was recently told that if a student was working toward 'old' Level 2 & 3 (Associate in old money), if they achieve this before the end of this year, they'll be automatically upgraded to MICB, meeting the minimum requirement for a practice license.

  • Student
  • 15 posts
  • # 117632

Hi Ami/Brian

Sorry to drag this out, but can you confirm the position regarding old level 3. That is if I complete old level 3 before December 19 and apply for Associate memebership can I then request to be upgraded to MICB which will then allow me to apply for a practice, OR if I complte old level 3 will I have to request to be changed to the new syllabus and have another exam to do to get MICB. There are 4 exams in old level 3 and 5 exams in the new level 3. Path is not too clear at the moment.


Kind Regards


  • Associate
  • 2 posts
  • # 117633

Ami @ ICB said:

Just to clarify:

Level 2 = Associate AICB

Level 3 = Member MICB (minimum membership requirement for the Practice Licence)

This applies to both the current syllabus and the pre-2019 syllabus.


 You can get licence under AICB if you have a payroll management diploma as well. This is stated on the running your own practice licence page. I have been keeping an eye on this as i want to go self employed as well.

Each Practice Licence lasts for a period of one year and runs alongside your membership. The Practice Licence is available to ICB Payroll Agents, Associate Members with Diploma in Payroll Management (AICB PM.Dip), Members (MICB) and Fellows (FICB) who are in good standing and can comply with the ICB Bankruptcy and Criminal Convictions policy.  (Copied from page)

Edited at 23 Mar 2019 12:01 PM GMT

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